CAMPAIGNS: JUDGE AND JURY; What is the point of using this piggy in the middle?

Using a well-known actress and a pig to protest about live animal transportation meant that the serious message ran the risk of being lost in frivolous sound bites and misguided sentimentality, says Jill Rawlins, head of public relations at Somerfield.

Using a well-known actress and a pig to protest about live animal

transportation meant that the serious message ran the risk of being

lost in frivolous sound bites and misguided sentimentality, says Jill

Rawlins, head of public relations at Somerfield.



A porky character and his mistress stepped out of a taxi outside the

House of Commons. And the snappers went wild. No, not another MP in

search of media attention. This is the story of the pig, the actress and

the campaign.



The pig in question is ‘Babe’, credited with anthropomorphic

characteristics by chum Joanna Lumley, who seemed to think the star of

her campaign to protest about the transportation of live animals in

Europe - had capabilities in the kitchen other than being laid in slices

on a plate, accompanied by chips and eggs.



The actress claimed - as reported in the Daily Telegraph - that ‘Babe

stayed at home with me all day yesterday. We cooked together...we went

for a walk’. Next it will be St Delia teaching chickens how to bake

aubergine surprise with a tomato coulis.



And it’s hard to take all these animal-related issues seriously when the

EC insists on first-class travel for, of all things, shellfish. The

mussels from Brussels must travel in style. Molluscs must not become

miserable is the ruling.



Call me unfeeling. But after only a year working in the food industry, I

have seen and heard many nutty things from people who, on one hand claim

they care passionately about something, but on the other are prepared to

risk the lives of people - sometimes children - by threats of

contamination. It gets very hard to separate those who really care about

a particular issue from those who simply love making other people’s

lives a misery with their so-called ‘campaigning’.



Call me old-fashioned too, but what can beat a good bit of House of

Commons lobbying? A bit of moral indignation always goes down well.



Compassion in World Farming presumably intended that Joanna would be the

vehicle to deliver the message. Dangerous ground. Here was a prime

example of the promotional ‘honey trap’ that went wrong. The actress got

the coverage, but who will remember the message, let alone the pig?



And pigs - they are difficult. The film Babe may have improved their

stature in the world pecking order, but, as my six-year-old daughter

said, as she saw the odd couple emerge from their taxi: ‘Pigs. They

stink.’ And I, on the whole, have to agree with her.



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